TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

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robertseeburger
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TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by robertseeburger » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:52 am

Well, I was lucky to get out on a prior trip (Seki) for 12 days and I managed to get out on a second trip for 11 days. Pretty good start.
I had planned to do this trip solo, but my Colorado friend Mike had planned to go to Europe for the Tour de France and he had nothing better to do.
So while I usually visit him once per year in the Winds, he instead came out to the Sierras.

I have been over many Sierra passes, both on trail and cross country. But it is kind of weird to me that I have never been over Mono Pass, which many consider the easiest. I also have done most of the Sierra High Route, but never been up Second Recess. So.. I developed a route in the Winter. Over Mono Pass, up second recess and Gabbot Pass ( I have climbed both Gabb and Abbot but never been over Gabbot Pass), and around back to Mono Creek and visit some lakes on the north side of Mono Creek drainage. The back half didnt quite go as planned as I wanted to get to Bighorn and Grinnell Lakes, but instead went to Pioneer Basin, which was beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Harlen's report a couple of weeks ago with similar destinations.

Very beautiful view north to Ruby Lake and Mount Abbot posted many times before..
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Made it to the top of Mono Pass. Not much of a view to the north, but the south is splendid.
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A view of Lower Mills Creek Lake. A beautiful Lake.
I would note.. that we found the route up Second Recess, from elevation 9200 feet to 10400 feet, quite difficult. This was day 2 of planned 12, with heavy packs, and we had planned to make it to Lowe Mills Cr. Lake, but fell short, from fatigue. The cross country here was tedious, with lots of one step up and half step back, and some brush. We finally camped at the pond at 10400 feet and caught up Lower Mills Cr. Lake the next morning.
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And a view north from just below Gabbot Pass, looking north to Ritter.
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We made it over Gabbot Pass into familiar territory for me ( last visit for me here Oct 2017--even though Oct..lots more snow then).
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And walking around Lake Italy.
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We eventually made our way down to the John Muir Trail and returned to Mono Creek Basin.
A view of Seven Gables, climbing Bear Ridge. We saw only 3 people in a couple of days on the high route ( each solo doing the entire high route).
But of course back on the JMT, saw the masses. After 50 years more or less of on and off backpacking, I think Seven Gables is tied ( with Milestone Mountain) as my favorite mountain. My favorite photo is Maverick's with the lightning.


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We made it down to Mono Creek. I would add that Mike had never done any of the JMT before. When we left the JMT going up Mono Creek.
I said congratulations. You have just done 10 miles of so of the JMT. Which is about 5%. That is the good news. The bad news is that I would
consider these 10 miles to be just about the most boring of the whole trail, and perhaps no other section of the trail was more inspirational for the formation of the Sierra High Route. He agreed the SHR portion we just did was more awesome.
In Mono Creek, there is one huge boulder --no others around it. It made me think of the famous boulder in Camp 4 in Yosemite.
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Lots of huge mushrooms in Mono Creek valley. Not many people doing this lateral.
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We finally made it to Pioneer Basin. I had never been here before. It was a good, easier alternative to the more ambitious plans we had further west.
I consider the views back to Mills and Abbot over the lakes in Pioneer Basin one of the classics.. and it didnt disappoint.
A thunderstorm brewing.
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And pardon me.. perhaps another shot. This one with clear sky.

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Oh, and I guess one more. I really liked this view. Couldn't get enough.
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Part 2 of 2 coming..
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robertseeburger
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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by robertseeburger » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:15 am

Part 2

Ok, I will start ..with another view of Pioneer Basin, this one a little higher, over the largest lake...
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We made it over to Golden Lake.
A view from the outlook looking up at Half Moon Pass.

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While I was looking up at Half Moon Pass, I decided it looked very difficult.
And then 3 trail runners came by Golden Lake and I talked for a few minutes. They started at Mcgee Creek and ran up to Steelhead Lake and then crossed into Pioneer Basin and around to Golden Lake and were going over Half Moon Pass and out. I remember a post ( I think AlpineMike) that showed how tedious the talus is on the north side of the pass above Pioneer Basin. I watched them quickly tackle Half Moon Pass.

Oh to be young again.

Then in the evening, I watched 3 people with packs descending Half Moon Pass. They camped close to us. It seems that that worked in Mammoth and got off work and then went over the pass the same day. Can you imagine working a full shift and then camping in the Sierras at 11000 feet? Wow.

Oh to live in Mammoth or Bishop and have access to the Sierras.

In any event, having watching 6 people do Half Moon Pass, perhaps it isn't that difficult.

A few trout pictures....

A nice one Mike caught.. 16 inches. His biggest golden ever..
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My biggest.. 17 inches..
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And another nice one..
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And Mike with a another nice one
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A lot of the lakes were full of brook trout.. some decent sized ones..
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And one beautiful golden in a high lake..
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Trail notes..

I can sleep anywhere.
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More trail notes..

Happiness is finishing off a gas canister with the last cup of coffee the morning of the last day.

Equipment notes.

Broke a carbon pole.. first time that has happened.. I know some people prefer aluminum. Didnt impact hike.. but was a problem.
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Another equipment note. I take this pot. Everybody I have met has laughed at me about this. It comes from my distant (1970's) past.
But when I hike with my friend Gary, he often says "Bob, can I use your aluminum pot?". And now on this trip, Mike said to me,
"bob, can I use your aluminum pot?". Doesnt weight much, stuff with clothes so it takes no space, and handy for water duties.
In any event, this could be a separate post.."what equipment do you carry that everyone laughs about?". This would be mine.
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In any event.. good trip... some good fishing.. finally got over Mono Pass, great scenery.
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gary c.
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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by gary c. » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:38 am

Great post and pictures! Looks like a wonderful trip and those Goldens are excellent.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by Carne_DelMuerto » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:26 am

Thanks for the report! Those fish are awesome!
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.

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Harlen
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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by Harlen » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:22 pm

Great route and great fishing!

Thanks for the report, and we're glad you are getting out as much a you are this weird summer. We like your choices of favorite mountains; I wonder if you have seen Red and White from Laurel Cr. on past trips? That is another favorite of ours. Cheers, Ian and Lizzie

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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:27 pm

Thanks for sharing your adventure. Beautiful country and nice fish.

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Dwwd
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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by Dwwd » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:52 pm

Bob, is napping on the trail a good solution for staying young? I will take all the advice I can get from someone who does as much exploring as you. Thanks for the trail report.

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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by tlsharb » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:40 pm

Bob, as always a great post.

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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by windknot » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:56 pm

robertseeburger wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:52 am
Happiness is finishing off a gas canister with the last cup of coffee the morning of the last day.
Indeed. I came close recently but still ended up with some more fuel in the darned thing. Thanks for another great report and nice job on some really big goldens. I'm envious of how much time you're able to spend out there!

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robertseeburger
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Re: TR Mono/Gabbot and Pioneer 7/9/20 to 7/19/20

Post by robertseeburger » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:29 am

Harlen wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:22 pm
Great route and great fishing!

Thanks for the report, and we're glad you are getting out as much a you are this weird summer. We like your choices of favorite mountains; I wonder if you have seen Red and White from Laurel Cr. on past trips? That is another favorite of ours. Cheers, Ian and Lizzie
responding to Harlen. I had indeed PLANNED to go to Laurel and Grinnell and see Red and White from this vantage point. But circumstances didnt allow it. I have seen Red and White from several vantage points, but alas not this one. But hey, I will circle back. Another day.

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